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Public administration theory

n 1947 Paul H. Appleby defined public administration as “public leadership of public affairs directly responsible for executive action”. In a democracy, it has to do with such leadership and executive action in terms that respect and contribute to the dignity, the worth, and the potentials of the citizen.[11] One year later, Gordon Clapp, then Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority defined public administration “as a public instrument whereby democratic society may be more completely realized.” This implies that it must “relate itself to concepts of justice, liberty, and fuller economic opportunity for human beings” and is thus “concerned with “people, with ideas, and with things”.[12] According to James D. Carroll & Alfred M. Zuck, the publication by “Woodrow Wilson of his essay, “The Study of Administration” in 1887 is generally regarded as the beginning of public administration as a specific field of study”.[13]

Drawing on the democracy theme and discarding the link to the executive branch, Patricia M. Shields asserts that public administration “deals with the stewardship and implementation of the products of a living democracy”.[14] The key term “product” refers to “those items that are constructed or produced” such as prisons, roads, laws, schools, and security. “As implementors, public managers engage these products.” They participate in the doing and making of the “living” democracy. A living democracy is “an environment that is changing, organic”, imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. “Stewardship is emphasized because public administration is concerned “with accountability and effective use of scarce resources and ultimately making the connection between the doing, the making and democratic values”.[1